In February, the US Department of Veterans Affairs established a new goal to prevent and end homelessness among military vets, after seeing progress towards earlier goals stall out in 2016.
The new goal to house 38,000 veterans this year is close to being realized—and could bring that number to near zero, based on the government’s Point-in-Time Count total collected January.
As of September 30, the department had achieved 30,914 permanent housing placements, meeting 81.35% of the goal to ensure at-risk veterans are safeguarded from the crisis of homelessness.
VA’s homeless programs are now averaging 3,434 placements each month. To meet the Biden administration’s goal by the end of the year, they would need to continue to place 2,362 Veterans into permanent housing each month through December 31, 2022.
The most recent data showing approximately how many vets were unhoused at the beginning of the year was announced last week. The count showed that on a single night in January, there were 33,136 veterans who were experiencing homelessness in the US.
The count represented an 11% decline since early 2020, the last time a full count was conducted.
If you go back to 2010, the count represents a 55% reduction in veteran homelessness.
“All Veterans deserve to have what they need to lead healthy, safe, and successful lives—that starts with a place to call home,” said HUD Secretary Marcia L. Fudge. “The data released today shows we are closer than ever in ensuring that every Veteran in America has a home.”
“Under President Biden’s leadership, we at VA, Housing and Urban Development, and the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness, will not stop until every Veteran has a good, safe, stable home in this country they fought to defend,” said VA Secretary Denis McDonough.
“Not only did we lower the number of Veterans experiencing homelessness, but we made this progress during a global pandemic and economic crisis,” said USICH Executive Director Jeff Olivet. “This proves that, even under the most difficult circumstances, we can take care of each other and address homelessness.”
The department’s efforts this year are based on the ‘Housing First’ approach, which prioritizes getting a person into housing, then provides them with the wraparound support they need to stay housed—including health care, job training, legal and education assistance, and more.
This progress has been funded by the resources provided by Congress during the pandemic. With the passage of the American Rescue Plan, VA’s homeless programs received $481 million in additional funding to support veterans.
If you are a veteran who is experiencing homelessness or at risk for homelessness, call the National Call Center for Homeless Veterans at 877-4AID-VET (877-424-3838). Visit the VA Homeless Programs website to learn about housing initiatives and other programs for veterans exiting homelessness.